Saturday, December 03, 2005

Stop whatever you are doing! Please don't let this new EPA proposal go by without comment!

Stop whatever you are doing! Please don't let this new EPA proposal go by without comment! EPA Seeks to Cut Toxics Reporting — Move Endangers Public Health Analysis: Nearly 1,000 Communities Across U.S. Would Lose All Toxics Information -from >> The National Environmental Trust (please check this site and read it thoroughly)

In all the years I have been following the Bush Administration's catering to business at the expense of our environment, this story is one of the most chilling I have yet come across. This is a time when ordinary people should take a moment and let the EPA that we need more environmental information about toxic reporting, not less.

Scientists, our government, environmental organizations, and neighbors to industry, have no ability to mitigate the effects of environmental pollution if industry's are given a break on reporting what toxics they are releasing. We have the right to know what toxic chemicals and in what quantity are entering our environment. You have until January 13, 2006 to make comment.

One of the things that really irks me about our present-day environmental problems is that the public, our government, and even scientists We Don't Get It! the critical time we are in our environmental history. Most people think that we have to balance political and economic considerations with a healthy environment, that there has to be a compromise with Nature so that we can have the lifestyle we want--fast polluting cars, sprawling out cities, less than toxic free land, air, and water. But that is absurd. Carl Sagan said it best: "Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet."

Before the Reagan Administration, we did not have political party disputes over the importance of environmental matters. Now a large part of our population somehow thinks that our environment has to take a back seat to our desires for a upwardly mobile way of life. It's the kind of wrong-headed thinking that is going to jeopardize our existence.

There's no arguing this point: Nature rules. Ignore the warnings like the studies done on the inadequacies of for the preparation of New Orleans for a Force Five Hurricane and thousands die. The recent attempts by our government to strip the Endanger Species Act or water down the Clean Air Act are bad. Really bad, because these laws (some passed by conservative Republican administrations) have been very successful laws that have help keep our environment from getting worse.

But, keeping critical information from the public, information we need to monitor the toxic pollutants in our environment is a fundamentally different threat to our existence to sustain our lives. Blinding ourselves to what we are releasing into the environment won't make the effect go away. You must let the EPA know that we need more, even independent, objective, and continual information about our environment if we are to monitor our environment adequately. Don't sit this one out!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A little Respect for Animals in our area:

Today, in several articles in the news (see the article online), are important stories about animals issues in our area. This is extremely important because recently the killing contests of old, where we picked an animal and for some reason or other decided to exterminate them in large numbers, are back via killing contests. Besides the ethical problem of arbitrarily (because most animal exterminations are based not on evidence, but our prejudices) killing off specific creatures with fun-loving killing contests, there are environmental reasons why we should hesitate before taking a species aside and scheduling it for extermination:

Read: "Animals In Our Mirror" - What image of ourselves is reflected by our attitudes towards animals? First of all, an animal is certainly more than its dictionary definition: “…a multicultural organism of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and a fixed body structure.”

I would add to the definition of animals that it is a living being that shapes and is shaped by its environment. An animal and its environment are one. Remove an elephant from its habitat and you have a large mammal without a home and an environment that will begin to change. Beyond the moral and emotional connections we have with animals, it seems to me as if the most important relationship we should be having with animals is learning about their role in the environment—not in a zoo. How we treat animals is in part a measure of how well we understand our environment. If animals are merely pets, zoo creatures, pests, experimental subjects, beasts in service, or food, we are missing the most important aspect of what an animal is. --from my book: We Don't Get It! Essays on Nature's Indifference.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Local Pandemics

It is in the nature of environmentalists to caution on the side of caution. That is, the Precautionary Principle rules. It is our job, I propose in We Don't Get It! Essays on Nature's Indifference, that our environment on the level of environmentalism is to use the Precautionary Principle to assess the importance of environmental matters because we know so little how our environmental actually works as a whole, and because most times when an environmental disaster occurs, it's too late to do anything about it. So, in keeping with this, it is extremely important that we focus of the possibility of a global pandemic flu influenza--and how we as a species will react. It is real threat.

Check out this great story from Westside News Inc., called The 1918 Influenza Pandemic "Chances are every local family has a member, or two, who was sick or died in the great influenza pandemic that swept around the globe and across America in 1918-19." And, getting a vaccine quickly and comprehensively to most of the world's people is probably an important aspect of this problem, but in my view not the most important part of dealing with the possible flu pandemic. What is, is getting our public health system up to date.

That our county, and many nations (especially Russia), are woefully inadequate for such a flu pandemic is a major theme in this book: The Coming Plague, by Laurie Garrett. Understanding how the possible flu pandemic might take hold and how our local health organizations will respond to this great health threat, should be our main focus. Voluntary quarantine for a limited period might be one way of dealing with this very fast moving disease, but because it would mean a major disruption of our economic infrastructure, I believe it is why we are not hearing much about it on our corporate media.

The Bush Administration's proposal for the military to force a mandatory quarantine is, I believe, counterproductive, and irresponsible. We, as an intelligent species, should be able to understand the possible threat by a worldwide pandemic and respond to it wisely, not panic and throw "boots on the ground" to force our citizens to act in their own best interest in a calamity.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Coyote in Situ:

Coyotes are surviving well within and outside our suburbs here in New York State. They are like those other creatures that have 'learned' to exist amongst us intolerant humans and sustain themselves: the raccoon, crow, pigeon, sparrows and (of course) insects. But, none of those creatures are as misaligned as the coyote (except, perhaps, the crows in Auburn, New York) so as so to spark a return to the killing contests of old.

In our nation's past, there was not a whole lot of tolerance for animals we determined pests. For example in our area a century or so ago, there were killing contests for black squirrels, which ravaged the houses built from the trees the squirrels called home. We had taken their tree homes and so they went to our homes. In an effort to stop this nuisance (and entertain a lot of people who liked to shoot creatures) barrels of black squirrels were acquired in killing contest. These ‘contests’ were so effective that only now are their numbers returning to this area.

I don't know what the repercussions were of these mass extinction events, though I suspect there were at least subtle ones. Creatures do not exist in an environmental vacuum. In the natural world, you are either predator or prey and often both in a three dimensional arena of cause and effect that extends far beyond boundaries we humans recognize. So, it is quite possible that many other creatures were profoundly affected by the sudden (and inexplicable disappearance, from their perspective) of the black squirrel.

Even so, the Eastern Coyote is a creature not as readily observable as a squirrel. Indeed, these creatures are so secretive that relatively few of us have seen one (I, myself, have not), though there are between 20,000 and 30,000 in New York State. Secretive can be good if you are a species on the decline and wish to avoid human detection. But, coyotes have that bad luck to be just secretive enough to create a sinister mystery in folks, enough so that an agenda of fear and hatred seems plausible to those who want to justify their rampages.

They say coyotes are spreading diseases like distemper and rabies. They say coyotes are killing off our deer and domestic sheep in such large numbers as to be threatening their existence. They say our pets and children are in constant danger from these cagey marauders. But, the facts are more subtle and important: Check these sources below for specifics, keeping in mind that even at the state conservation level, the Department of Environmental Conservation, there has been little research on the Eastern Coyote and how it actually survives in situ—that is, in our wooded areas of New York State.

Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue, Inc --- Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue is a Wildlife Rehabilitation facility, Education Center and Sanctuary located in East Concord, NY.

Living With the Wiley Coyote - E-Files - Sierra Club The Navajo call the coyote "God's dog" and, in some ways, this member of the dog family does seem to enjoy divine benefaction. While virtually every other North American predator has seen its numbers decline, the coyote has managed to increase both its range and numbers during the past century -- despite a long history of trapping, poisoning, and hunting by humans.

The Coyote in New York State - From the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry... The coyote has been present in New York state for about 85 years. As with its western cousin, the eastern coyote has been the object of much controversy as well as curiosity.

The Coyote in New York The Eastern Coyote - at a glance Description: The Eastern coyote looks like a medium-sized German shepherd dog, with long thick fur. The tail is full and bushy, usually carried pointing down. Ears are erect and pointed. Length:4 to 5 feet (including tail) Weight: 35 to 45 pounds (males usually larger than females.) Color: Variable, from blonde or reddish blonde to dark tan washed with black. Legs, ears and cheeks usually reddish.

The Humane Society of the United States The human-animal bond is as old as human history. We cherish our animal companions for their unconditional affection and acceptance. We feel a thrill when we glimpse wild creatures in their natural habitat or in our own backyard. Unfortunately, the human-animal bond has at times been weakened. Humans have exploited some animal species to the point of extinction.

Perhaps the greatest problem for the coyote is the lack of a body of objective research to properly place their role, and consequently how we treat them, in the proper context. That, for my money, is the key to understanding the role of the coyote. While I am ethically against coyote killing contests, I think there is a more compelling practical and environmental argument for having a healthy population of coyotes in our state. They, as the top predator (if you don't rank loose dog packs, a few bears or mountain lions not yet exterminated) keep disease and pest numbers in check. We often gauge our attempts at environmental control on how each pertains to us. That is, deer become a nuisance based on how often they careen off our vehicle or the property they damage. Not on their role in our environment. But that is not a wise attitude towards our environment, of which coyotes are a part.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Interesting article, but it has its delusional aspects:

My Thoughts

Interesting article, but it has its delusional aspects:

Rochester ranks 7th among clean cities - The Rochester area is one of the cleanest cities in the United States, according to a Readers Digest analysis of the 50 largest cities in the country. Rochester scored seventh cleanest, Buffalo was third, and Portland, Ore., won the top spot. Chicago was the dirtiest. Edward J. Doherty, Rochester's commissioner of environmental service, was pleased that the review looked at a variety of categories rather than focusing on just one that could provide a misleading picture. (June 23, 2005) Democrat & Chronicle

Although we have lived in Rochester almost thirty years now and expect to another thirty, because it is a great place to live, there are many serious concerns about how clean Rochester is. On the whole, as American cities, go Rochester, NY may well be one of the cleanest cities in the US. But, before we get too excited about the latest Reader's Digest study, we ought to stop and think. What does 'clean' mean? Looking at some of the facts, we have doubts about Rochester's cleanliness:

-1- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Rochester region is failing to meet new health standards for ground level ozone pollution.
-2- Rochester is No. 1 in the nation for releases of cancer-causing industrial chemicals, according to a new analysis of 13 years of data on such materials.
-3- "Finger Lakes/Ontario Plain"--including , Onondaga, Monroe, and Erie Counties and many of the neighbors - as the 11th Most Threatened Farming Region in the County
-4- Rochester ranks 12th in the nation: The Sprawl Index
-5-. 'Some studies have placed Rochester among the 10 U.S. cities with the worst lead problems.'
-6-. Local air gets an F for ozone Monroe and Wayne counties cited in Lung Association survey Almost half of U.S. residents live in areas with unhealthy amounts of ozone, the ground-hugging pollutant that contributes to respiratory disease. Monroe County was one of 18 New York counties to receive a grade of “F” -- worse than last year, when the county received a “D.”
-7-“Monroe County is among the top ten counties in the state (9th by gallons, 6th by pounds) for total amount of pesticides reported in 1998.”
-8- New York. Monroe County with a total population of 712, 419 has 9, 443 cases of padiatric asthma, 40,549 cases of adult asthma, 23, 1701 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 7, 721 cases of emphysema 8. The Genesee River gets the distinction of being #2 in this criteria: "Top polluters directly discharging cancer-causing chemicals to U.S. waters.
-9-. 89 spots in Monroe County that have been contaminated by methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive and potential carcinogen. To view maps of toxic sites, including MTBE contaminated areas, in towns throughout Monroe County
-10-. "In Monroe County, 48 contaminated sites are without funding, according to the DEC. (see front page for sources)

And if you actually read the Reader's Digest Study, it is a pretty scanty document and divulges no data: We have contacted Reader's Digest about how they conducted the study and what guidelines they used and will wait for their response. But in the meantime, we are all for a positive attitude towards a city we love and we wish dearly to see it prosper.

We've invested heavily in time and money to see that it does so. Disturbingly though, this article by the D&C and the Reader's Digest study only raises eyebrows, like finding your average student has been accepted into Harvard University. Something is odd. If Rochester is the 7th cleanest top city in the United States, then how are the rest of the top cities in American faring? By noting that we are near the top in cleanliness, should we let our guard down a moment and not get our air cleaned up, our brownfields cleaned, our water, and get the lead out of our old homes so I kids won't get poisoned? We hope not. We hope we will always feel good about our city and always take a cold hard look at our environment because our environment is our support system and when that goes awry, we'll get in trouble.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Don't Let the Public Broadcasting Service Get Gutted

With all the news on Public Broadcasting Service funding, we are concerned that Rochester's Environment might take a toll. Democracy Now! | PBS TV Station President Warns CPB Funding Cuts Will Launch "Spiral of Death for Public Broadcasting" We hope everyone is aware of the present crisis in the media, where the corporate media (most of the major media outlets around Rochester and the Untied States are owned by only a few corporations) and the growing realization that our environment may not be objectively reported because corporations, as a rule, see environmental regulations as a threat. Regardless of where you stand politically, not having an aggressive media that gives us a absolutely accurate model of our environment and potential dangers is a major threat to our existence. We need to know what is going on in our environment because it is our life support system. Missing important indicators of environmental problems can be catastrophic. We have not seen many stories in the pass few years from our local PBS and NPR stations on our Rochester-area environment and with the new situation of PBS funding, we could lose what little remains of good reporting on our environment. Don't kid yourself. Just because our media is not continually monitoring our environment that everything is OK. Just look on the side panel of this site's front page--there are many problems we need to address--brownfields cleanup, sprawl, air quality, etc and keeping our attention away from these issues just mean that when they do finally get bad enough to notice them, it will probably be too late. The great environmental reporter, Cory Ireland, at the Democrat and Chronicle will soon be leaving our town and with the our coverage of our environment shrinks further and further. So, be concerned that federally funded PBS and NPR and undergoing a sea-change in funding, maybe disappearing from our news channels. Years ago, environmentalism was not a political issue--all side of the isle care about the condition of our environment. But, with the Bush Administration hostile attitude and lack of knowledge about how our environment works our security is certainly threatened. Do everything in your power to make sure Public Broadcasting is not swept away.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Is Environmentalism Dead?

The Failure of Environmentalism

Has the environmental movement in the United States failed on the issue of global warming? ask Sehllenberger and Nordhaus in their upsetting (October 2004) essay, “The Death of Environmentalism.” It seems so, because this article has sent shivers though the environmental community. It is time for environmental groups to “rethink everything,” because “Over the last 15 years environmental foundations and organizations have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into combating global warming.” And they say, “We have little to show for it.” But, I believe their assessment of the environmental movement fails to appreciate the true battle. The failure to “get it” on global warming is not the environmental movements, but the failure of those who deny the primacy of environmental matters.

If one used only our media as a measure of reality, it would seem as though there is a continual battle against growth and free enterprise by a small and persistent faction of self-appointed do-gooders who rarely prevail. But, the question we must ask ourselves (as beings whose continued existence on this planet is not a forgone conclusion) is this: If there is a failure in the environmental movement, whose failure is it? Or, to put it another way, if someone tries to warn you that the benign-looking pasture you are about to drive your tractor on is actually a minefield, and you succeed in brushing him off, what have you accomplished?

Our collective predisposition towards adversarial jurisprudence, competing media, contentious multi-party political systems, and even opposing faiths points to something fundamental in the way we root out most absolute and unconditional truths. For most truths in our corporeal lives, as opposed to the spiritual or theoretical (where mathematics reign), there are no absolutes. Most truths are ferreted out by polemics or suggested through individual or collective experience. Our courts are designed to extract from human events the guilt and innocence of the defendant in the eyes of the law. Not Truth per se, because often the courts know a particular incidence has occurred, a killing for example, but not a crime. For instance, justified self-defense, even though it results in a death, is not a crime. The struggle for truth revolves around the dialectic between the state proving a defendant has transgressed its laws and a defendant arguing for his or her innocence. In other ways, we experience, or our community, discovers a truth, something like getting around town by horse, but another may find a rickshaw more suitable.

The media presents events not as Truths, but situations as reporters report them. Another journalist describing the same event, on another network or from another country’s viewpoint (on the outcome of an election for example) could and often does have a different interpretation. Political systems have been designed to find the best possible candidate, representing their particular set of theoretical solutions, to a country’s objectives and problems at any one point in their history. Therefore, the outcome of elections decides what policies will prevail, not necessarily an unconditional truth, such as what will create a sustainable environment. While the world is full of religions where each contend that theirs is the absolute Truth, the sheer number of contenders shows they cannot all possibly be right.

This is not to say that there are not some absolutes that we can all be assured of, absolutes that are true for all people everywhere on this planet. Some truths are not open to dispute; and yet, because of the way we solve most inter-human problems, we go on arguing them—even at the threat of our existence. Here are some of the truths I am talking about: all humans require clean water and air to survive; the DNA in our bodies must be uncorrupted by poisons for them to produce another viable human being; there is a physical limit to the amount of humans Earth can sustain; and finally, when the climate on Earth warms up it causes a change in the types of animals and plants that can survive in any one biome. These are not truths that I have dictated, or decreed by a court of law, reported from the media, or proclaimed by religious conviction. They are simply the facts as presented by three billion years of life as it has evolved on this planet. It does not matter if you believe in evolution or not. Violate the continuum of life begetting life and it ends. No discussion. Corrupt the basic chemical structure of our DNA and we do not survive. Populate our planet with more people than it can sustain and many will perish. Arguments will not change these facts; they will only drive our species closer to the edge of extinction by blinding us to the truth. Any life on this planet that has violated these truths is not around now to debate them. We are all, plants and animals, programmed for survival, and the test for this does not lay in the courts, the newspaper, or a religious tome. It lies in the survival of the fittest. Get it wrong and Nature will kill you.

So, how can environmentalism fail? It does not make sense to argue about whether or not the environment—that particular narrow band of environmental factors that our species requires to survive–is important to us. That would be insane, just as much as it would be for a fish to flop out of a river and stubbornly give up life there. No matter what got into the fish’s head—a disgust at having to always filter water through gills, or the despair at forever trying to get away from larger fish—if it leaves the water, it dies. Nor does it make any sense to argue that anything, including any principle that we hold, is more important than the environment, because the environment and we are one. The problem of modern human existence is to appreciate our connection to our environment and sustain ourselves within the limits set by Nature. Survival of our species is the point of our existence, for without this there is no past (for who will be around to tell it?), present, or future.

Granted, there are an innumerable ways to solve the problems of clean air, clean water, global warming, and overpopulation. That is the rub. Developers and environmentalists have so long argued about how to solve many of these biological truths that they have ratcheted up the problem to the point of absurdity. At a public meeting on a local development project I recently attended, a man introduced himself as someone who “certainly was not an environmentalist.” Did he mean that he was against clean air or clean water to drink?

The failure of environmentalism, ultimately, will not be the results of debates about what environmental factors we need to survive, for they are set in stone. For example, we cannot decide that we can do without potable water. It will be about what solutions we did or did not choose to act upon. Our humanness presents us with unconditional barriers, specific ones (a full set of uncompromised genes to pass on to the next generation) that come with being human, as it always has. We have adapted to some limits and overcome others, but some are insurmountable and cannot be avoided by military might, manufacturing, and new designs. Overpopulation falls into this category, for although we have not discovered it yet, there is a limit to the amount of humans our planet can support (even if we did not mind overcrowding and doing with less.) Our failure will be to continue to allow our relationship with our environment to be clouded by conflict and the illusion that one group is for the environment and another is not. The similarity our environmental problems have with politics, religion, and most of our other problems ends when you realize that no amount of persuasion, conflict, and moral outrage can affect the indifferent forces of Nature.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Windmills in the Rochester, New York area Posted by Hello

 Wind Power in our area?

Wind Power in our area?

by Frank J. Regan

I wonder how we can resolve the position that renewable energy is a great planetary movement towards having a non-polluting energy source, to actually achieving this goal. Most people like the idea of windmills added to our power grid, providing us with a non-polluting energy source--until it threatens their area. So, how can it happen? I don't remember anyone having a choice about a hydro-electric dam stopping up their river or a coal-burning power plant, which pollutes the air with smog and mercury. I don't remember community groups getting up in arms about a far more insidious form of energy--nuclear power. But, it seems every time a community is faced with having a windmill farm near their them, they get up in arms about how it will change the aesthetics of their landscape, or the blades falling off, or ice coming off, or the flicker effect, or the noise, or something. Residents near a nuclear or coal-burning power plants have, in all probability, far graver health effects than those who live near a windmill.

In the case of Springwater, the public resignedly said "No!" to the prospect of having 14 windmills in their area. Already groups are forming against the idea of windmills that area: Springwater Preservation Committee. Here's their argument: "The town residents and visitors will most likely get nothing from this proposal but a destruction of their scenic landscapes, a bombardment of strobe lights, unwanted noise, and a drop in their property values." And if you listen to this program online --Catching the Wind --from the radio program Living On Earth -- there are many, many people fighting the creation of windmill farms in the United States. Yet, oil is polluting, changing the temperature of our planet, and causing us wars around the world.

In my opinion, I think we are condemned to hitch our future on the horrific nature of oil (war and pollution) and nuclear energy (in which the latest Yucca Mountain scandal highlights just how impossible it is going to be to deal with spent fuel rods) unless we find a solution to creating wind farms, which are the only quick, viable energy alternatives to the tremendous increase in energy uses we have. There are other forms of renewable energy sources --solar, geothermic, etc.--but none of them can at this time complete with dirty oil and gas.

What concerns me is that the argument that our country (we burn 25% of the oil in the world for energy) needs to find energy alternatives is not being heard in small, rural communities. It seems to me that if given a choice communities will always choose not to have large windmill near them. What about the argument that rural New Yorkers have a significant resource here (lots of wind) which means that we have an opportunity to and give something back to the country and to the planet even if it means compromising some of our previously pristine views?

Part of the problem is that the complete ledger of what is involved in the energy problem has not been accurately described adequately in our media. If we do not use large windmills, which are the only viable renewable energy sources at this date, we will be forced to continue to use out-dated coal-powered plants and dangerous nuclear plants for electricity. That means extensive air pollution, global warming gases, and mercury contamination--which is why we cannot eat fish in any quantity in the Eastern United States. Nuclear power is too dangerous and the its waste issue cannot be addressed--Bush's Yucca Mountain facility is under suspicion because the books were cooked on how safe radioactive waste storage would be. And the problem of creating a single site for spent nuclear waste does not even address the serious problem of transporting that waste across our roads and through our cities.

Remember, environmental issues are totally different that any other issue. As Carl Sagan said, "If you cannot drink the water, or breathe the air, anything else you want to do is not going to happen." At this point in time, only windmills can quickly reduce our dependence on dangerous and polluting, and greenhouse-gas-producing energy sources. And, if everyone is dead set against having a windmill near their homes, how will we solve our energy problems?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Daily Messages: Get all the news about how and Green Solitaire is helping our environment

Remote Killing: Just about the sickest activity I have ever come across in all my years watching environmental stories has to be this one: Remote hunting targeted ( Albany – New York lawmakers aim to shoot down a new computer game that allows users to kill by remote control. The state Senate yesterday passed legislation outlawing the use of Web sites that let users hunt live game with just a click of the mouse. Outraged lawmakers in the Assembly said they are more than ready to push the bill through there, too.) I have heard about blasting an entire population of cormorants on Galloo Island a few years ago because some fisherman were tired of competing with this fishing bird for fish in the Great Lakes, shooting coyotes in a Honeoye contest because hunters believed that they were unfairly competing with hunters for killing deer (they weren't, deer population are vast), and shooting crows in a contest because another crow population farther away was bugging city residents, but this remote killing thing is far sicker. When is our species going to grow up? When is killing animals for sport going to cease to be entertaining for a species that is supposedly maturing? But, I guess I cannot get my mind around the depth of depravity of creating a web site where you can actually kill an animals from your desk top computer with the click of a mouse. That our state government even has to waste its time consider stopping this activity is sad beyond sad. I'm almost lost for words on the depth of depravity that humans can descend to at times. Killing real animals from your desk top computer is has to be a sign of a species so bored with itself that must reach to the lowest depths of its soul to come up with this sort of 'entertainment'. Of course, in the scheme of things, of evil, remote killing does not compete with murdering humans, serial killers, rapists, even robbery, but for sheer moronic depravity remote killing is about the stupidest and childish adult behavior I have ever heard of. If it is not instantly obvious to you that remote killing is not only wrong, but a sign of something going wrong in the way some people things, then I guess our species needs an adult caretaker.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Is Environmentalism Dead? Ah, NO!

Is Environmentalism Dead? Ah, No!

Although I disagree with the author's of this report, I believe that it is a good time for environmentalists to reexamine their strategies and assumptions. This online document has the environmental community abuzz with doubt: Global warming politics in a post-environmental world | By Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus | Grist Magazine | Main Dish | 13 Jan 2005 The Death of Environmentalism - Global warming politics in a post-environmental world - By Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus -13 Jan 2005.

What is very troubling about this report is several assumptions by the authors that they have 'go it' what is wrong with the environmental movement and how to fix it. I disagree that the 'doom and gloom' attitude of environmentalists is responsible for their failure, allegedly selling a poor product (the lousy health of our environment) to an American public that only wants to hear good news.

The authors believe that environmentalism should be repackaged into something entirely different from the way it has been presented to the public and how it is fought in the courts. We should for example, not mere focus on better fuel standards for new automobiles, but should consider the wider scope of why American car manufacturers are creating less fuel efficient cars and help them conform. That is, we environmentalists should also push for a better health plan for American auto workers so they can compete with Japanese automakers, who get their health plans subsides by their governments. This will put both manufactures on an even footing and make them truly competitive.

The authors also think that environmentalists should get unstuck from the second of three steps in a successful environmental plan: 1. conservation 2. regulation, and 3. investment. The environmental community, they say, should stop focusing on 'special interest' of environmentalists, i.e., global warming, and embrace an entirely new and positive vision of our environment. They use the New Apollo Project, as an example of a SEA change in environmentalists thinking and a way for them to reconnect with the American public in promoting a positive and hopeful vision of the future.

There is a whole lot more to "The Death of Environmentalism," but basically Environmentalism in the United States is failing and and the heads of our environmental groups ought to think of better schemes like using investments to make American want to move in a positive direction.--instead of the step-by-step compromises with polluters and manufacturers and a doom and gloom mentality that leaves American without hope. This sounds interesting, even hopeful. Sounds , though, very Karl Rowe-ish: something isn't working, so (regardless of its ethics and sustainability) just find what will make it work and make it work.

The trouble with this self-serving claptrap is that our environment really is getting worse: 1. The State of the World? It is on the Brink of Disaster 2. Most other nations around the world signed on to the Kyoto Protocol, the Americans dropped out because President Bush said it would "hurt American businesses." 3. There is not any logical way (that is in a world that works by the way physics as scientists understand it) that we can allow corporations to go on the way they are going--polluting our planet's air, water, and ground, and leaving it all to brownfields and superfund sites when they're done. 4. Like it or not, nothing but regulation works in a corporate world where giving their shareholders a profits is the only goal of any corporation--who only understand short-term selfish goals. -- I do think Environmentalists should rethink some of their strategies in winning the war on the environment, but giving into the Bush agenda, that is make a good product so American will want to 'buy it' is insulting, immoral, and it won't give us a stainable environment.

I'll say it again because this is the hold grail of Environmentalism: If our environment (that is, that relatively narrow band of all possible environments in which man can survive) is not sustainable, our children don't get to survive. Because environmental problems usually take so long to show up (because we are dealing with a very large system here) there is not an immediate and direct link to our pollution and us getting sick because of it. All in all, our citizens and our corporations seem hell bent on having what they want, when they want it, meaning they want.

In other words, in the United States (and I'm sure many Europeans would agree with this) we want to be able to have total freedom to have what we want regardless of its effect on our environment. We should shoot any animals that takes our stock--even if they play an important part in our environment, we should have any vehicle we want, regardless of what getting fuel for it means to our resources and global warming, we should allow any corporation to do whatever they want because they are providing jobs. I don't think so.

There is a problem with our environment, of which Global Warming may highlight some of the issues that seem to be unsolvable. Anyone who has looked at the state of our environment must see that we do not have a sustainable environment, that man has so influenced the workings of this planet's environment that we have to, like it or not, be a part of it sustaining itself. Nature cannot be left alone to do its job, because we don't know what it is. There won't be any quick fixes, and we cannot simply vote people into office who will allow us to live the way we want, regardless of its environmental implications. I believe that Environmentalists must get the public, especially the American public, on board on environmentalism because we so influence the way the rest of the world goes. Everything points to condition that in order for most American to 'get it' on the environment a major and in-our-face catastrophe, an environmental 9/11 will have to happen before we limit corporate pollution and change our economies so that they helps sustain our environment instead of degrading it.

Blaming this condition on Environmentalists because they didn't sell environmentalism in the way the American people wanted to see it (i.e., so they don't have to change their ways) is foolish and only allows the American public that this state of affairs is not their fault and they don't have to do anything about it. Well, regardless of what our attitudes are about environmentalists, if we don't change our environment becomes more hostile to our species survival. That you can take to the bank.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

ENN: Environmental News Network [[Today's News Full Story ]]

ENN: Environmental News Network [[Today's News Full Story ]]
Urban Sprawl, a major issue in Rochester, New York ( ) is wreaking havoc on the environment.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

R News: As It Happens, Where It Happens

R News: As It Happens, Where It Happens: "USDA Rids Auburn Of Crow Problem"
Of course, it's not as much fun for some as blasting away at crows while drinking beer, but the attempt by the US Department of Agriculture in Auburn, NY to rid itself of crows seems a far more sensible and humane way of ridding a community of pests. Each year, a tavern in Syracuse, NY sponsors a crow shoot for its patrons to rid the a city of crows by blasting away at the forest crows (because shooting crows in the city is illegal) which has absolutely no effect on the city crows--which is the alleged problem.

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > China Promotes Another Boom: Nuclear Power

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > China Promotes Another Boom: Nuclear Power
Energy: In the future we are going to have to have a predominance of clean and safe energy. Nuclear energy, in terms of global warming is clean, but it is not safe. Given China's secrecy in the beginning of the SARS breakout in their country, where the numbers of SARA cases advanced rapidly without knowledge from the outside world, how responsible do you think China will be if their are any accidents in their nuclear plants? The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > China Promotes Another Boom: Nuclear Power By 2010, planners predict a quadrupling of nuclear output to 16 billion kilowatt-hours and a doubling of that figure by 2015. And with commercial nuclear energy programs dead or stagnant in the United States and most of Europe, Western and other developers of nuclear plant technology are lining up to sell reactors and other equipment to the Chinese, whose purchasing decisions alone will determine in many instances who survives in the business. --The New York Times > International News